Merrie England

(1902)

by Edward German

Description
comic opera in two acts
Genres
Opera
Text
Music by Edward German. Book and Lyrics by Basil Hood. Adapted by Dennis Arundell
Instrumentation
2(II=picc).1.2.2 - 2220 - perc(1) - harp - strings
Availability
Published by Warner/Chappell.  Administered for rental and amateur stage rights by Faber Music Ltd worldwide (excluding North America, Germany, Austria and Switzerland)
 
The Story
(Elizabethan England)
This well-known comic opera is set in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.  The famous courtier, Sir Walter Raleigh, loves Bessie Throckmorton, one of the Queen’s Ladies in Waiting.  Bessie is frightened that a misplaced letter from Raleigh will fall into the hands of the Queen, who would be displeased at the association.  Raleigh’s rival, the Earl of Essex, is given the letter by Jill-All-Alone, who is persecuted by the local people who think she is a witch.  A forester begs the Queen to protect Jill.  However, when Essex hands Elizabeth the letter, the Queen is so incensed that she orders Bessie’s imprisonment, Raleigh’s banishment and Jill’s death by burning.  Elizabeth retracts each sentence when Essex halts a threat to her life through his exposure of Dr Lopez, the Queen’s Portuguese physician, who is planning to poison her.  This adaptation was first seen at Sadlers Wells in 1960 and has the effect of increasing the dramatic realism and allowing the music to give greater unity. The original version is available if required. 
 
Principal Characters (plus Chorus)
Sir Walter Raleigh 
Earl of Essex
Queen Elizabeth I
Bessie Throckmorton
Walter Wilkins
Dr Lopez
 
Principal Musical Numbers
The Yeomen of England (Essex, Chorus) 
She Had A Letter From Her Love (Bessie)
Love Is Meant To Make Us Glad (Quintet)
O Peaceful England (Elizabeth, Chorus)
The English Rose (Raleigh)
It Is The Merry Month of May (Jill, Raleigh)

 

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